None of NBC’s new fall series will make it to midseason. Comedy Sunnyside already has been pulled off the linear network — it was moved to NBC’s digital platforms while expanding its initial order from 10 to 11 episodes — while drama Bluff City Law will not get a back order, finishing out its 10-episode order on Monday.
The third new NBC fall series, comedy Perfect Harmony, was set for a 13-episode first season because of the window of availability of star Bradley Whitford, coming off an Emmy win for his recurring role on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
That is not unusual. NBC’s comedy series The Good Place has done only 13-episode seasons. That means that Perfect Harmony is facing a Season 2 renewal decision, not a back-order one. The network could give the show an early renewal — NBC has done it with The Good Place every year, and CBS just gave a Season 2 pickup to new drama Evil, which also was designed for shorter runs. (Fox also just renewed new animated comedy Bless the Harts for Season 2; its freshman run was limited by the time demands of animated series production.)
But in the case of Perfect Harmony, I hear NBC brass likely will wait longer before making the decision, which could come closer to the May upfronts. The network had bet on the quirky comedy as potentially another Good Place — a smart, single-camera comedy that might be a modest linear performer but a digital hit.
While stronger than Sunnyside, Perfect Harmony so far has been a so-so performer in linear and digital viewing. On the plus side, Whitford is a major draw, playing an outsized character tailor-made for him. But the series comes from an outside studio, Disney’s 20th Century Fox TV, and NBC likely will wait to see the long tail of Perfect Harmony‘s digital ratings as well as its 2020-21 development before making the final call.